Old Salt Lake | Virtual Museum

Portfolio (reports, analysis, projects, initiatives, etc.)

Archive (of exhibits)

About (who created this online museum and updates it)

Video (overview of the study area)

Selected Exhibits and Reports

Detail of the classic Redondo Salt Works Photo (1898-1906) showing the salt works in production. The solar evaporation vats are in the foreground. Photographer unknown.

Introduction to this Web Site

This web site is a virtual museum. The museum is the result of research which studies and documents the natural history and archaeology of an interesting ocean waterfront area about four miles in length on the southwest coast of the Santa Monica Bay, in southern California. The area from the ravine and bluffs at Malaga Cove north to the salt lake (see figure below).

This virtual museum is named after the lake. It was a world famous natural resource. One of several such resources in the study area. The lake is gone and a power plant occupies that site now. People living in the study area today refer to what was the lake site in terms of the name of the power plant owner - currently an international energy corporation. However, early Americans living here called the lake "Old Salt Lake". The Spanish called the site "Las Salinas". The Indians may have called the place "Engva".

The significance of the entire study area is what happened here and continues to happen. Remarkably, the place is a microcosm of the universal and well-known relationship between human complexity and ecological footprint. The area is a sufficiently epic type site.

The research idea was to take a fresh look at what happened here by finding and examining the original documentation. This ocean waterfront area has been researched. Numerous primary resources have been obtained and scrutinized. The result of this investigation is presented here in brief.

In addition to the exhibits shown, this museum reports in detail on the following aspects of reality discovered about this study area: (1) The place was indeed world-class famous for its natural resources; (2) The area has been occupied by multiple cultures of people for 7 to 8 thousand years; (3) Each culture living here has exploited the local natural resources; (4) Cultures here come and go (have life cycles); (5) The earlier cultures when they left - happen to leave the local natural resources intact, in effect, enabling another culture with the capability to exploit the resources and complete another cycle; (6) The current culture occupying the area has devastated the local natural resources; (7) Another culture cannot simply exist here again based on what was the local natural resources - although remarkably, physical remnants of the authentic place still exist; (8) The current culture has been and is attempting to legitimize itself in the face of having ravaged this instance of coastline; (9) This type of legitimization is in the form of a remarkable corporate framing of the past (and future); (10) The corporate framing caused an historical footprint - and it's ongoing; (11) This historical footprint is further compounding the cumulative effect of the ecological footprint.

The interest of this museum is to try and salvage waterfront culture here based on local natural resources by leveraging a combination of techniques in environmental studies, history, fieldwork and web development. This virtual museum is an independent presentation.

The Study Area

Southwest coast of the Santa Monica Bay in southern California.

1896 Topographical Map - Redondo Sheet, (detail), U.S. Geological Survey, surveyed in 1894

Google Earth screenshot with markup indicating general location of waterfront study area: